I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s stop with Pete Aldin regarding “Because Business is Personal: Why I Like Niteblade”.
Today I’m conducting an interview with myself regarding the interviews at Niteblade. I promise it will be a short one.
How long have you been doing interviews for Niteblade?
I had to look up this answer. When I think of Niteblade interviews I think of the contributor interviews because I do a lot of them. My first interview was in May 2010. In January 2011 the contributor interviews became a regular feature.
Do you do any prep work before an interview?
Gosh, yes! At times I feel like I do so much that I’ll never get the interview questions done. I look at previous interviews, the person’s web presence, and might even read their work to get a sense of them. It’s not very efficient to read an entire book before formulating the interview questions but I’ve been known to do that once. Or twice. Or um… yeah, you get the picture.
The most difficult part is getting started. When I find the theme I use it as a framework for the questions. Everyone interviewed for Niteblade wants to talk about their work or increase their sales. Those questions are easy and get asked dozens of times. It’s no fun for me or the interviewee to see the same questions recycled in every interview.
What do you enjoy the most about Niteblade contributor interviews?
The questions are pretty much the same for everyone but they don’t feel recycled. I love seeing the answers. The process reminds me of writing prompts. Hand out the same prompts or themes to 20 different writers and poets and you’ll see 20 unique works of art.
When I can hear the person’s voice in their responses or feel the enthusiasm jump off the page my heart beats faster. It feels like magic unfolding before my eyes and no one else is there to witness it.
Is there any part of the process that’s difficult?
Of course. The most difficult part for me is coming up with a blurb or bio to introduce the person to Niteblade‘s readers. It took me most of a week-long workshop to come up with several versions of my own bio. It still gets tweaked.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with your Niteblade Blog Train visitors?
If you know any fantasy and horror writers or poets who want to be interviewed for Niteblade, let me know. Make sure to mention Niteblade in the email.
And happy 5th anniversary to Niteblade! I’ve been a reader since the first issue. I’m squeamish when it comes to horror so it’s really broadened my appreciation for the genre. Tomorrow’s train stop is with Jonathan Pinnock.
It’s a meeting of the Ambers! Today I have an interview with Amber Kallyn, author of the new release, Bloodstorm. Until the 30th you can enter to win a copy of Bloodstorm on Goodreads. Amber is the author of several paranormal romance novels and a long-time resident of Arizona. In addition to her own blog, you can read her regular blog posts with the Plot Mamas and the 7 Evil Dwarves. A big thank you to Amber for taking time out of her schedule to answer some interview questions.
Me: You’re a native of Arizona. The state is known for its desert climate but it also has forests and mountains. How do you think this environment influences your writing?
Amber: I grew up in the desert, but I’ve lived, as we say ‘Up the mountain’ as well. My books tend to be in small towns up a mountain, with plenty of forest for hiding 🙂
Also, because I’m used to spending so much time outside, I tend to write people outside interacting with nature.
Me: Your works have featured dragon shifters, sex demons, nymphs, werewolves and vampires. Which is your favorite?
Amber: Oh, wow. I have to pick one? 😉
The vampires I’m writing right now would have to be my favorite, though the mythological creature closest to my heart has always, and will always be, Dragons. They’re in every culture, representing so many different things from the Earth to health and luck. Plus, they’re big and bad and can kick butt, LOL.
Me: What kind of supernatural creature do you want to tackle next?
Amber: My vampires are going to be a multiple book series. When I’m finished writing them, I’m planning a spin-off with the werewolf pack. I also have some ideas I’ll get around to with demons, and werebears 😉
Me: Your latest work, Bloodstorm (Heart of a Vampire), was released earlier this month. Tell us a little about it.
Amber: In Bloodstorm, a vampire tracks down the monster who killed her family and turned her into the revenge driven creature she is today. She tracks him down in a small, mountain-top town (see, LOL) and finds Shane, an Apache Shaman and Keeper of the peace between paranormal races. Working together to keep each other safe is difficult while trying to avoid falling in love–especially when a vampire must choose between that love or her revenge.
Me: I understand you tend to plan your work instead of writing and seeing where it takes you. For Bloodstorm, which came first? The characters or the plot?
Amber: I am absolutely a plotter, the problem is my characters come to me first. Then, I struggle with the plot. I like to have a mini-outline, essentially a sentence or two for each scene that takes me from start to finish. Of course, things change while writing, an outline is really only a guideline, not a must-stick-to map. It works for me.
Me: What are you working on now?
Amber: I’m currently in edits on Hungerstorm (Heart of a Vampire, Book 2). It will be released in Summer 2012 🙂
Yesterday’s NPR interview with Ian Rankin is going to add another book to my TBR pile. I’ve heard of him but haven’t read anything by him.
The title of his newest book is The Complaints and features an internal affairs police officer, Malcolm Fox. He sounds like a straitlaced sort of guy trying to do what’s expected of him to the best of his ability. Rankin mentioned people seemed to like Fox even though he’s very different from his famous Detective Inspector Rebus.
Thinking about it, there are some people who want such a character right now. People will always use books to escape from their ordinary lives but isn’t it nice to have a character who could be someone who lives on your street?
Lisa Roe, Online Publicist, arranged for Artist Arthur to do a community interview for the release of her book, Manifest: A Mystyx Novel. I’ve separated the interview into two parts for easier reading. Here is Part 1. Tomorrow I’ll have a review of Manifest available for you.
13. The Book Owl said…What are your guilty pleasures in life?
Artist: I’m such a geek…books and chocolate.
14. Liz B said…As a writer are you a “plotter” (with detailed outlines) or are you a “plunger” (plunge into the story and see where it takes you)?
Artist: I’m a plotter definitely. As I begin to write the characters take on their own life but with my outline I know where I need them to end up. Most of the time they work with me.
15. Anne said…Are any of your characters based on real people?
Artist: Each of my YA characters is based on a variety of people. My daughter, myself as a teenager, teenagers from my church, some I hadn’t ever met. I’m an observer so I take tidbits from people that I see and think would be interesting in a character.
16. ladystorm said…If Manifest became a movie who would you like to see play the main characters?
Artist: I’ve actually been asked this a lot in the past month so I’ve been thinking about it. I like Selina Gomez for Sasha. Zac Efron would be great for Jake but I think he might be too old. Kiki Palmer for Krystal.
17. LuAnn said…What sort of research did you need to do for your novel?
Artist: I had to find books on the weather that would back up what I’d seen on the weather channel. Books on Greek mythology that I already had because I love the subject in general. Then, I just wanted to spend time with teenagers to get a real feel for their lives, loves, issues, dreams.
18. The Brain Lair (KB) said…Is Artist your real name? Also, how did you guys find the model for the cover?
Artist: Yes, Artist is my real, legal name. 🙂
I have nothing to do with the design of the cover beyond giving a character and sometimes a scene description. The publisher takes care of all of that. I just happen to agree wholeheartedly with their choice.
19. Amber Stults said…Did you have much input into the cover? It’s extremely eye-catching.
Artist: No, unfortunately, I cannot take credit for the cover art, that was solely the publisher.
20. Diva’s Bookcase said…Is the character of Krystal based on yourself or someone that you know? I’d like to know where you got the inspiration for such a headstrong, but young character.
Artist: Krystal is a combination of myself and my daughter. We are extremely moody and stubborn, but once you get to know us you can’t help but love us. Ok, that might be exaggerating, but yeah, I drew a lot of my own experiences and feelings as a teenager and then on some moods I’ve seen my daughter in to create Krystal.
21. Jan von Harz said…My question is if you pick the brain of any dead author whose brain would you pick and why?
Artist: Wow, my very honest answer is, I have no idea. I like reading Mark Twain, I’d maybe like to have a conversation with him just to get a firsthand look at his creativity.
22. Jami said…Who are some YA authors that inspire you? Can you name any YA novels that you read and loved recently?
Artist: I’m so in love with Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers. I really enjoy Laura Halse Anderson and Alyson Noel as well. Just recently I read Fallen by Lauren Kate and enjoyed her voice.
23. MissAttitude said…My question: Why did you decide to not only make Krystal African American, but also one fourth Native American?
Artist: I wanted all the characters to be unique in their backgrounds and upbringing. My family has some Native American (Cherokee) so it was a natural mixture for me.
24. iluvhersheysandbooks said…Hello Artist Arthur, my question is: Of all the paranormal creatures currently “sweeping the YA nation” why choose ghost over vampires, werewolves and faeries, oh my?
Artist: Because everybody seems to be choosing vampires, werewolves and faeries and I wanted to tell a different story, give readers another entity to consider when they think of the paranormal.
25. A Musing Mother said…My question is really for Krystal Bentley rather than Artist: Of all the spirits that have come to you, who evoked in you the most emotion? What emotion? Why?
Krystal: Carolyn Jamison, she was the lady in room 319, right beside my grandfather who was in 320. Carolyn said I reminded her of her granddaughter that she hadn’t seen in years because she couldn’t find her. I didn’t know where her granddaughter was either, but Carolyn said it was okay, visiting with me was like being given another granddaughter. That’s the sweetest thing anybody has ever said to me.
26. Amy J – Book Addict said…What one place would you love to do an author signing at? Town? The one place you have always dreamed you would sign at and mean ultimate success for you!
Artist: Salem, Massachusetts. I would love to feel the energy left over in the air from the long ago witch trials.
27. Faye said…The paranormal genre is big in teen/YA literature right now. Most bestsellers feature vampires, werewolves, faeries, angels, or the like as a main character. In your opinion, why are teens currently fascinated with all things paranormal?
Artist: I think, like everyone else, they want a break for what’s currently going on. They want to be taken away to another time, or another place, or the same place with a different cast.
Lisa Roe, Online Publicist, arranged for Artist Arthur to do a community interview for the release of her book, Manifest: A Mystyx Novel. I’ve separated the interview into two parts for easier reading. Tomorrow I’ll have a review of Manifest available for you.
1. Cleverly Inked said…Do you feel being able to Manifest is blessing or a curse?
Artist: I think that any type of growth can only improve who and what you are, thus a blessing.
2. The Library Lurker said…Was it difficult to go from Romance to YA?
Artist: No, actually it wasn’t. I like to read different genres so I generally like to write the same types of stories as I read. It just takes concentration on the current project at hand.
3. Ari said…Artist, what is your position on global warming? Your answer does not have to be serious 🙂
Artist: Good, I’m glad it doesn’t have to be serious. LOL My position is that there are a lot of scenarios for world destruction that we need to take seriously. There was a reason the Earth wasn’t originally occupied with automobiles and other machinery.
4. Kate said…Other than an author, what profession would you love to have, and why?
Artist: I think I’d like to be a teacher if I didn’t have a fear of getting up in front of people. I’d like to know that I’ve taught someone something, that I’ve given knowledge they didn’t have before. To me, that’s a lasting impact.
5. Diana Dang said…How do you write out your stories? Plan them? Let the characters decide? Or only when you have an “aha!” moment then you put it down?
Artist: I’m a planner. I get the idea then I run with it. My outlines are usually about five pages long and that’s just on the characters, not actually the story. I know, overkill right? LOL
6. Danielle said…How do you come up with names for your characters?
Artist: I have the book of a thousand baby names. And I watch the credits after movies to see what jumps out at me.
7. Jo said…Why did you decide to write a YA novel, and why in the fantasy genre?
Artist: I was encouraged by a lot of people in my life to write something interesting for our youth. I’m a believer in signs so I figured with so many people saying the same thing, I owed it to myself to give it a try. I love paranormal and so far my romance has been contemporary so this was my opportunity to do something totally different.
8. Star Shadow said…How did you come up with the amazing idea for the base for this book and the Mystyx group/powers?
Artist: I love watching the weather channel. I kept thinking that something has to be left behind after all these storms and natural disasters. My daughter came up with the names of the Mystyx characters and I gave them powers. I wanted different powers, ones that would fit each character specifically.
9. Dwayne said…Since Manifest is infused with paranormal mystery, do you have a personal paranormal experience that you can share with us?
Artist: Sometimes I’ll be in a room by myself and think I see shadow or feel like someone or something has moved past me. It’s weird and doesn’t happen all the time, but each time it does, I wonder…
10. BookMac said…If you had 1 day to spend a million dollars, what would you buy?
Artist: Books probably. LOL And a black FordF150 for my daughter.
11. Bookworm said…Why were you drawn to the paranormal genre of YA?
Artist: I’ve always been a fan of the paranormal genre adult and YA. I like that there are no boundaries to the world that can be created.
12. Sherry @ Flipping Pages for All Ages said…What, if any, are your writing rituals (certain lighting, room, food, etc)?
Artist: I can write just about anywhere at anytime, but I really like to write to music.
It’s that time of year again… Book Blogger Appreciation Week! Today is interview day and I’ve been paired up with Suey of It’s All About Books. I hope you enjoy getting to know Suey like I did.
Amber: How did you decide to name your blog “It’s All About Books… and life’s other adventures too!”?
Suey: When I created and named my blog, I didn’t know it would become, shall we say, such a big part of my life! I was just thinking, hmmmm, I want to do a blog all about books, hey I know! I’ll call it “It’s All About Books”! So uncreative. But it’s now grown on me I suppose. I added the “…. and life’s other adventures too!” awhile after when I realized I felt the need to do personal posts about family, music, TV and whatever else was going on now and then.
Amber: What is your favorite part about book blogging?
Suey: I really enjoy being able to have a place to be openly and maybe even overly enthusiastic about my book fanaticism. People in my real life think I’m weird, but now I’ve found people in my blogging life who totally get it. They may still think I’m weird, but at least they get it! That’s the best part.
Amber: Is there one book (old or new) you recommend to others without hesitation?
Suey: Ah, hard question because it just depends on the person I’m recommending to. I guess The Book Thief always seems to come up when I’m suggesting something for people to read. The Hunger Games for reluctant teen readers. Ender’s Game for teenage boys. And the list goes on!
Amber: I noticed you live in Utah which has an active book blogging community – you even meet socially once a year. What is the best part about having
an active book blogging community where you live?
Suey: It’s kind of the same as the best part of book blogging itself, only in person. Meeting people with the same excitement about books and reading… and blogging… is so fun! You have an instant connection and an instant bond. It’s a very cool thing to experience. Several of the Utah book bloggers I see enough now to consider “real life” friends and some of them even come to my book club now! I love it. I feel very lucky to be part of this fun book community that we’ve got going.
Amber: Do you set reading or reviewing goals each year?
Suey: I sort of have an unwritten goal to try to get to 100 books a year. That’s nice round number! The reading challenges I join, which I try to make only 3 or 4, helps me create some goals. This year I have a personal quest to read Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, but I’m only to book four at this point. One year, I wanted to read War and Peace, but I only got half way through. So, yeah, I guess I do make reading goals. But as for reviewing goals, I just plan to review everything I read. Simple, easy, short, chatty reviews.
Amber: With the increasing popularity of ereaders and social networks (such as Good Reads and the book blogger group on Ning) has technology changed the
way you read or review books?
Suey: The specific things you list haven’t really changed the way I read or review books. Goodreads maybe a little, if I see someone list a book that looks good, I’ll add it to the virtual pile. Blogging itself is what has changed my habits the most. The TBR pile is huge because of the rave reviews I read and because of the buzz that happens now and then over certain books. I’ve read a ton of stuff since blogging that I would have never known about otherwise. As far as e-readers go, I’m still wary about that whole thing. I’m sure some day I’ll try it out, but for now, I’m just a normal paper books kind of reader!
I’m so happy Tiffany was able to take some time from her busy schedule to answer questions about writing and her first novel, The Little Giant of Aberdeen County. She’s already at work on her second novel. You can visit Tiffany online at http://www.tiffanybaker.com to get the latest news on her work.
Amber: When you were writing The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, did any of the characters surprise you?
Tiffany: Yes, quite a few, starting with Truly. I never expected her spirit to be so resilient or her observations to be so sly. Amelia surprised me, too. She’s not quite the pushover she seems, even though she is broken and fragile. And August didn’t exactly surprise me, but I just grew more and more fond of him as I wrote. He’s a hot mess, but he’d still be fun to play a hand of cards with.
Amber: A lot of interviews and reviews focus on Truly and Dr. Robert Morgan’s relationship. I was really taken with Marcus and his relationship with Truly. Marcus always loved her regardless of her size. Was it difficult to write?
Tiffany:Marcus was a character that I developed over the course of several drafts. He wasn’t difficult to write per se, but he became more important to the book. It was never difficult for me to imagine him always loving Truly, though. I think that for Marcus, Truly is kind of everything he can’t be: big, solid, quiet. She compliments him.
Amber: You lead a very busy life. What’s your secret to finding writing time?
Tiffany: I make the time. I try to treat it like a job, but it gets crazy juggling three kids and a career, just like for any working mom. I’m the mom who sends her kids to school with mismatched socks, who sometimes forgets the lunch on a field trip day. But, at the same time, I always cook dinner and we always sit down together every night. My house is an epic disaster, though. I’m afraid I’m not a wonderful housekeeper.
Amber: Do you have any writing rituals that you follow each time you sit down to write?
Tiffany: Well, let’s see, I usually check email. Then I have to kick myself off the Internet and get down to business. I usually read over a little of what I did the day before, just to get my mind back into things, or go over notes. Sometimes I do a little research. Then I try to write as fast as I can before my three kids get back.
Amber: Was there anything about the publishing process no one warned you about that you wish someone had told you ahead of time?
Tiffany: One thing no one sufficiently warns you about is the fluidity of this business. People move around all the time—sometimes mid-book. The team you start out with in the beginning of a project may not be the one you end up with. That can be stressful. Also, it’s really hard to learn how to keep the act of writing private and sacred. There’s promoting a book and then there is the process of writing one and the two are not the same thing at all.
Amber: Have you had any memorable moments at book signings?
Tiffany: At my third book event ever, the lights went out in a power outage in the middle of my reading. We were in a tiny store and no one could see a thing, but the owner fumbled around and came up with some candles and some other ladies had some flashlights in their purses. And, actually, the candlelight made the event really intimate. It was like being around a campfire. Now, I think all book events should be held by candlelight!
Amber: I can’t wait to read your next novel. Is it close to being published? *crosses fingers*
Tiffany: I don’t know yet when it will be out. Soon, I hope! I have a draft at the publisher’s now. The book is called The Gilly Salt Sistersand it’s about three women on a salt marsh in Cape Cod who all have a history with the same man. Two of the women are sisters and one is the man’s pregnant teenaged mistress. When they end up together in the marsh, the trouble really starts. As soon as I know the details of when The Gilly Salt Sisters will be coming out, I’ll put them up on my website: www.tiffanybaker.com. Thanks for the interview!
Yesterday while driving to the farmer’s market to pick up my meat (I’ve belonged to a meat CSA since last fall) I was treated to a NPR interview with M.J. Rose on marketing and promotion.
I haven’t read any of her books but I do recall seeing The Hypnotist recently on several book blogs. Rose is right. It’s really difficult to get your book to stand out from the thousands of other books published that year. And to keep the momentum going is difficult too!
So many good books get published and it’s not easy to read them all in the first year. It seems that’s when the sales have the most impact on future book contracts. Though none of my novels have been published, I do have friends who have their novels in bookstores and available online.
What makes a book or author stand out to you? Is it the buzz you hear? An interview? A regularly updated blog?
I keep forgetting to mention… I conducted an interview with Frick Weber earlier this month for Niteblade. He’s one of the talents behind The Field on the Edge of the Woods. The interview has been posted. Enjoy!
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